Christina Neal

Volcanologist with 37 years experience in hazard science, communications, mitigation, and leadership.


I have been working for the USGS on various aspects of volcanology, eruption response, and hazard mitigation since 1983. My introduction to volcanoes started in college looking at Viking Orbiter images of Olympus Mons on Mars. My first Earthly volcano was Mount St. Helens where I prowled the pumice plain in 1982. I learned about lava and volcano monitoring at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in the early days of the Pu`u`O`o eruption and mapped the summit and southwest rift zone of Kīlauea Volcano. In 1985, I spent a month at sea on an ALVIN expedition to the active propagating rift system near the Galapagos at 95.5W. I moved to the newly-formed Alaska Volcano Observatory in 1990 where I led and participated in eruption response studies at Redoubt, Spurr, Augustine, Okmok, and following many smaller events in the Aleutians. My science focused on eruptive histories, young pyroclastic deposits and processes, and hazard assessment. Volcanoes I know well include: Spurr, Redoubt, Ukinrek, Aniakchak, Black Peak, and Okmok. I've developed strong interests and experience in managing volcano hazard information, warning systems, interagency coordination, and volcanic ash and aviation hazards.  While at AVO, I led collaboration with with colleagues in Kamchatka and Sakhalin to expand Russian eruption warning systems. I served for two years (1998-2000) as the first Geoscience Advisor to USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance where I facilitated U.S. programming to reduce disaster risk abroad. From 2009-2010, I completed two details to the USGS Western Regional Office as Chief of Staff and Deputy Regional Director. In 2011-2012, I represented the Volcano Hazards Program on the USGS Hazards Mission Strategic Science Planning effort. I served as Scientist-in-Charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory from 2015-2020, overseeing a staff of 30 and managing response to the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea.  During my tenure, I focused on hiring a new generation of HVO scientists, planning for new facilities and science initiatives using an influx of Congressional funding following the 2018 event, and preparing for a Mauna Loa eruption. I have now returned to Anchorage and the Alaska Volcano Observatory to complete Alaska volcano studies long on hold and special projects on behalf of the USGS Alaska Region.  


Selected Publications

Neal, C.A. and Anderson, K.R., 2020, Preliminary Analyses of Volcanic Hazards at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, 2017–2018. U.S. Geol. Surv. Open-File Rep. 2020–1002.

Neal, C.A., Brantley S.R, and 54 other contributors, 2019, The 2018 Rift Eruption and Summit Collapse of Kīlauea Volcano: Science, v. 363, p. 367–374.

Coombs, M.L., Larsen, J.F., and Neal, C.A., 2018, Postglacial eruptive history and geochemistry of Semisopochnoi volcano, western Aleutian Islands, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5150, 33 p.,

Ort, M.H., Lefebvre, N.S., Neal, C.A., McConnell, V.S., and Wohletz, K.H., 2018, Linking the Ukinrek 1977 maar-eruption observations to the tephra deposits--New insights into maar depositional processes: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 360, p. 36-60,

Thelen, W. A., A. Miklius, and C. Neal, 2017, Volcanic unrest at Mauna Loa, Earth’s largest active volcano, Eos, 98, Published on 16 October 2017.

Wallace, K.L., Hayden, L.A., and Neal, C.A., 2017, Major-element glass compositions of tephra from the circa 3.6 ka eruption of Aniakchak volcano, Alaska Peninsula, Alaska: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Raw Data File 2017-9, 9 p.

Unema, Joel A., Ort, Michael H., Larsen, Jessica F., Neal, Christina A., and Schaefer, Janet R., 2016, Water-magma interaction and plume processes in the 2008 Okmok eruption, Alaska: Geological Society of America Bulletin, First published online January 8, 2016, doi:10.1130/B31360.1

Poland, M.P., Orr, T.R., Kauahikaua, J.P., Brantley, S.R., Babb, J.L., Patrick, M.R., Neal, C.A., Anderson K.R., Antolik, L., Burgess, M., Elias, T., Fuke, S., Fukunaga, P., Johanson, I.A., Kagimoto, M., Kamibayashi, K., Lee, L., Miklius, A., Million, W., Moniz, C., Okubo, P.G., Sutton, A.J., Takahashi, T.J., Thelen, W.A., Tollett, W., Trusdell, F.A., 2016, The 2014–2015 Pāhoa lava flow crisis at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i: Disaster avoided and lessons learned:  GSA Today, v. 26, no. 2, doi: 10.1130/GSATG262A.1

Virginia Hatfield, Kale Bruner, Dixie West, Arkady Savinetsky, Olga Krylovich, Bulat Khasanov, Dmitry Vasyukov, Zh. Antipushina, Mitsuru Okuno, Susan Crockford, Kirsten Nicolaysen, Breanyn MacInnes, Lyman Persico, Pavel Izbekov, Christina Neal, Thomas Bartlett III, Lydia Loopesko, and Anne Fulton, 2016, At the Foot of the Smoking Mountains: The 2014 Archaeological Investigations in the Islands of the Four Mountains: Arctic Anthropology, February 1, 2016, v. 53, no. 2, p. 141-159. https://doi: 10.3368/aa.53.2.141

Larsen, J.F., Neal, C.A., Schaefer, J.R., Kaufman, A.M., and Lu, Zhong, 2015, The 2008 phreatomagmatic eruption of Okmok Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska: Chronology, deposits, and landform changes: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Report of Investigation 2015-2, 53 p. doi:10.14509/29405

Hults, C., and C. A. Neal. 2015. Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve: Geologic resources inventory report. Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR—2015/1033. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Tilling, R.I., Kauahikaua, J.P., Brantley, S.R., and Neal, C.A., 2014, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; a natural laboratory for studying basaltic volcanism, chap. 1 of Poland, M.P., ed., Characteristics of Hawaiian volcanoes: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1801­­­­

Bacon, C.R., Neal, C.A., Miller, T.P., McGimsey, R.G., and Nye, C.J., 2014, Postglacial eruptive history, geochemistry, and recent seismicity of Aniakchak volcano, Alaska Peninsula: U.S. Geological Survey Professional

Herrick, J.A., Neal, C.A., Cameron, Cheryl, Dixon, Jim, and McGimsey, R.G., 2014, 2012 Volcanic activity in Alaska–Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5160, 80 p.,

Holmes, Robert R., Jr.; Jones, Lucile M.; Eidenshink, Jeffery C.; Godt, Jonathan W.; Kirby, Stephen H.; Love, Jeffrey J.; Neal, Christina A.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Plunkett, Michael L.; Weaver, Craig S.; Wein, Anne; Perry, Suzanne C., 2012. Natural hazards science strategy. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1088, viii, 54 p.; Appendices. [Link]

Werner, Cynthia, Kelly, P., Doukas, M., Lopez, T., Pfeffer, M., McGimsey, R., and Neal, C. (April 2012), Degassing of CO2, SO2, and H2S associated with the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2012.04.012.

Neal, Christina A.; McGimsey, Robert G.; Dixon, James P.; Cameron, Cheryl E.; Nuzhdaev, Anton A.; Chibisova, Marina, 2011. 2008 Volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5243, viii, 87 p.; Appendices. [Link]

Robert S. Nicholson, James E. Gardner, Christina A. Neal, 2011, Variations in eruption style during the 1931 A.D. eruption of Aniakchak volcano, Alaska: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 207, Issues 3-4, 15 October 2011, Pages 69-82.

Alexander Rybin, Marina Chibisova, Peter Webley, Torge Steensen, Pavel Izbekov, Christina Neal, Vince Realmuto,, 2011, Satellite and ground observations of the June 2009 eruption of Sarychev Peak Volcano, Matua Island, Central Kuriles: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 73, p. 1377-1392.

Cynthia Werner, William C. Evans, Peter J. Kelly, Robert McGimsey, Melissa Pfeffer, Michael Doukas, and Christina Neal, 2011, Deep magmatic degassing versus scrubbing: Elevated CO2 emissions and C/S in the lead-up to the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska: Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 13, doi:10.1029/2011GC003794, 201.

Neal, Christina A.; Murray, Thomas L.; Power, John A.; Adleman, Jennifer N.; Whitmore, Paul M.; Osiensky, Jeffery M., 2010. Hazard Information Management, Interagency Coordination, and Impacts of the 2005-2006 Eruption of Augustine Volcano. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1769-28, 23 p.; p. 645-66. [Link]

Adleman, Jennifer N.; Cameron, Cheryl E.; Snedigar, Seth F.; Neal, Christina A.; Wallace, Kristi L., 2010. Public Outreach and Communications of the Alaska Volcano Observatory during the 2005-2006 Eruption of Augustine Volcano. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1769-27, 14 p.; p. 631-64. [Link]

McGee, Kenneth A.; Doukas, Michael P.; McGimsey, Robert G.; Neal, Christina A.; Wessels, Rick L., 2010. Emission of SO2, CO2, and H2S from Augustine Volcano, 2002-2008. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1769-26, 19 p.; p. 609-627. [Link]

Wallace, Kristi L.; Neal, Christina A.; McGimsey, Robert G., 2010. Timing, distribution, and character of tephra fall from the 2005-2006 eruption of Augustine Volcano. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1769-9, p. 187-217; Chapter 9 text; Appendices. [Link]

Neal, Christina A.; Guffanti, Marianne C., 2010. Airborne Volcanic Ash - A Global Threat to Aviation. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3116, 6 p. [Link]

Scott, W.E., Nye, C.J., Waythomas, C.F., and Neal, C.A., 2010, August 2008 eruption of Kasatochi Volcano, Andreanof Islands, Alaska-Resetting an island landscape: Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, v. 42, no. 3, p. 250-259.

Larsen, J.L., Neal, C.A., Webley, P., Freymueller, J., Haney, M., McNutt, S. Schneider, D., Prejean, S., Schaefer, J., and Wessels, R., 2009, Eruption of Alaska Volcano Breaks Historic Pattern: EOS v. 90, n. 20, p. 173-174.

Neal, Christina, Girina, Olga, Senyukov, Sergey, Rybin, Alexander, Osiensky, Jeffrey, Izbekov, Pavel, and Ferguson, Gail, 2009, Russian eruption warning systems for aviation: Natural Hazards, v. 50, 18 p., doi:10.1007/s11069-009-9347-6. 

McGee, K.A., Doukas, M.P., McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., and Wessels, R.L., 2008, Atmospheric contribution of gas emissions from Augustine volcano, Alaska during the 2006 eruption: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 35, L03306, doi:10.1029/2007GL032301, 5 p.

Neal, Christina, Rybin, Alexander, Chibisova, Marina, and Miller, Edward, 2008, Active volcanoes of the Kurile Islands: A reference guide for aviation users:  U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2008-1162, 10 p.

Zimmerman, C.E., Neal, C.A., and Haeussler, P.J., 2008, Natural hazards, fish habitat, and fishing communities in Alaska: American Fisheries Society Symposium, v. 64, p. 375-388.  

Neal, Christina A., McGimsey, Robert G., Dixon, Jim, Manevich, Alexander, and Rybin, Alexander, 2008, 2006 volcanic activity in Alaska, Kamchatka, and the Kurile Islands: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory:  U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5214, 114 p.

Driedger, C.L., Neal, C.A., Knappenberger, T.H., Needham, D.H., Harper, R.B., and Steele, W.P., 2008, Hazard information management during the autumn 2004 reawakening of Mount St. Helens volcano, Washington, chap. 24 in Sherrod, D.R., Scott, W.E., and Stauffer, P.H. eds, 2008, A volcano rekindled: the renewed eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1750, chapter 24, p. 505-522.

Larsen, J.F., Neal, C.A., Schaefer, J.R., Beget, J.E., and Nye, C.J., 2007, Late Pleistocene and Holocene caldera-forming eruptions of Okmok Caldera, Aleutian Islands, Alaska: in Eichelberger, John, Gordeev, Evgenii, Kasahara, Minoru, Izbekov, Pavel, and Lees, Jonathan (eds.) AGU Geophysical Monograph, Volcanism and Subduction: The Kamchatka Region, p. 343-364.

Coombs, Michelle L., Neal, Christina A., Wessels, Rick L., and McGimsey, Robert G., 2006, Geothermal Disruption of Summit Glaciers at Mount Spurr Volcano, 2004-6: An Unusual Manifestation of Volcanic Unrest, in Haeussler, Peter J., and Galloway, John P., (eds.), Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, 2005:  U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1732-B, 33 p. [].  

Begét, J.E., Larsen, J.F., Neal, C.A., Nye, C.J., and Schaefer, J.R., 2005, Preliminary volcano-hazard assessment for Okmok Volcano, Umnak Island, Alaska, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Report of Investigations RI2004-3, 32 p., 1 sheet, scale 1:150,000.  

Neal, Christina A., McGimsey, Robert G., and Melnikov, D., 2005, 2004 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 67 p.

Neal, Christina A., McGimsey, Robert G., and Girina, O., 2005, 2002 volcanic activity in Alaska and Kamchatka: Summary of events and response of the Alaska Volcano Observatory: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2004-1058, 51 p.

Neal, C.A., and Lockwood, J.P., 2003, Geologic Map of the Summit area of Kilauea Volcano, one map sheet and 63 ms pages of text and tables, U.S. Geological Survey Map I-2759.

Kirianov, Vladimir Yu., Neal, Christina A., Gordeev, Evgenii I., and Miller, Thomas P., 2002, The Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team:  USGS Fact Sheet 064-02 (English and Russian;

Neal, C.A., McGimsey, R.G., Waythomas, C.F., Miller, T.P., Riehle, J.R., 2001, Preliminary Volcanic Hazards of Aniakchak Volcano, Alaska, USGS Open File Report 00-519, one map sheet with text.

Waythomas, C.F., and Neal, C.A., 1999, Tsunami generation during the 3500 yr B.P. caldera-forming eruption of Aniakchak Volcano, Alaska: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 60, n. 2, p. 110-124. 

Gardner, C.A., Cashman, K.V., Neal, C.A., 1999, Tephra-fall deposits from the 1992 eruptions of Crater Peak, Alaska: implications of clast textures for eruptive processes: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 59, n. 8, p. 537-555.

Waythomas, C.F., Walder, J., McGimsey, R.G., Neal, C.A., 1996, A catastrophic flood caused by drainage of a caldera lake at Aniakchak volcano, Alaska and implications for volcanic hazards assessment:  Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 108, n. 7, p. 861-871.

Neal, C.A., McGimsey, R.G., Gardner, C.A., Harbin, M.L., and Nye, C.J., 1995, Tephra-fall deposits from the 1992 eruptions of Crater Peak, Spurr volcano, Alaska:  Preliminary report on distribution, stratigraphy and composition, ch. 7 of T.E.C. Keith, editor, The 1992 Eruptions of Crater Peak Vent, Mount Spurr Volcano, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2139, p. 65-80.

Parfit, E.A., Wilson, L., and Neal, C.A., 1995, Factors influencing the height of Hawaiian lava fountains: Implications for the use of fountain height as an indicator of magma gas content: Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 57, p. 440-450.

Gardner, C.A., Neal, C.A., Waitt, R.B., and Janda, R. J., 1994, Proximal pyroclastic deposits from the 1989-90 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, AK: Stratigraphy, distribution, and physical characteristics, 47 p., 22 figs., Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v.  62, p. 213-250.

Rhodes, J. M., Wenz, K., Neal, C. A., Sparks, J. W., and Lockwood, J. P., 1989, Geochemical evidence for invasion of Kilauea's plumbing system by Mauna Loa magma:  Nature, v. 337, n. 6204, p. 257-260. 

Wolfe, E.W., Neal, C.A., Banks, N.G., and Duggan, T.J., 1989, Geologic observations and chronology of eruptive events, ch. 1 of Wolfe, E.W., ed., The Pu'u O'o eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, Episodes 1-20, Jan 3, 1983 through Jun 8, 1984: U.S.  Geological Survey Professional Paper 1463, p.1-97.

Neal, C.A., Duggan, T.J., Wolfe, E.W., and Brandt, E.L., 1989, Lava samples, temperatures, and compositions, ch. 2 of Wolfe, E.W., ed., The Pu'u O'o eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, Episodes 1-20, Jan 3, 1983 through Jun 8, 1984:  U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1463, p. 99-126.